Fixin’ to BBQ: D.W. Vasbinder’s in Richmond

When your barbecue breaks down, you need to know about the folks at D.W. Vasbinder’s (90A in Richmond, 281-342-0535). Not only do they repair barbecue rigs, they also take trade-ins and buy burned-out smokers for scrap.

The barbecue pits made here are way cheaper than better-known competitors like Pitts and Spitts. (Pitts and Spitts uses expensive stainless steel on the lids and charges $1,800 for a medium-sized unit.) You can get a nice size smoker at D.W. Vasbinder’s for $700, and a little one for $200. Or you can design your own and have them custom-make it. And we’re talking about the kind of heavy-gauge steel that will last for decades.

Mine looks identical to some of the ones Vasbinder sells, but I got it at Smokemaster in Austin. After 18 years of use, I burned through the metal grid that goes directly over the coals in the firebox-- and my steak grilling has gone to hell ever since. So, in preparation for the Fourth of July, I took the burned-out grill to Vasbinder’s and had them cut me a new one to the same size. It was fifteen bucks.

While I was there, I picked up a bag of oak and a bag of hickory for five bucks apiece. That’s the great thing about Vasbinder’s; they don’t just sell barbecues and fix barbecues, they sell wood too--your choice of oak, pecan, hickory and mesquite. There’s even a honor box, so you can drop off your money and grab a bag of wood when the place isn’t open.

Look for the big woodpiles on the south side of 90A just east of Larry’s Mexican restaurant. You can’t miss it--they have a unique method of advertising--they burn sawdust on the side of the road so that you smell burning wood when you get close. – Robb Walsh

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